Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Visual History Archive Access at UNCG

When he was working on Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg set up the infrastructure to collect unedited video testimonies of as many Holocaust survivors as possible. This effort, which resulted in the production of about 52,000 testimonies, evolved into the Visual History Archive of the Shoah Foundation Institute, housed at the University of Southern California. I had the honor of presenting at the Institute's International Digital Access, Outreach, and Research Conference in March 2010. The ongoing efforts to assure the preservation, quality, and availability of these testimonies are remarkable. Thanks to the diligence of everyone involved in this project, the testimonies will remain a vibrant presence long after the last generation of survivors has passed.

UNCG is privileged to be one of only about 30 sites worldwide with full access to the complete Visual History Archive. Anyone who accesses the Internet from a secure UNCG server (i.e., one with a username and password login) on campus can set up a free account with the VHA and begin accessing testimonies. The access portal works only when using a secure UNCG campus connection.

An especially helpful feature of the VHA is that the testimonies are indexed--and much energy at the Shoah Foundation is devoted to this monumental task. The indexing is constantly being updated to improve precision of searches. Users can explore using all sorts of parameters: names, locations, Holocaust experience type (concentration camp, ghetto, hiding, etc.), as well as an extensive keyword index. The Visual History Archive qualifies as one of the most important primary sources for investigating the human elements of thew Holocaust.

No comments:

Post a Comment